Cockermouth Podiatrist - Mandy Johnston

What is the difference between Podiatry and Chiropody?

There is no difference between the two titles.  Podiatry is the more modern name used however chiropody is also used as it is still a familiar title.   A Podiatrist or Chiropodist must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

What is Podiatry?

A visit to a podiatrist treats and can alleviate discomfort of many foot disorders, such as corns, hard skin and callus, cracked heels, verruca and ingrown toe nails. We can also provide cosmetic enhancements for toe nails which are damaged.  

The foot is a complex structure, consisting of 26 bones, supported by a network of ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Everyday abuse, long periods of standing, wearing shoes which restrict the movement, or which do not support the foot, combined with fashion for heeled shoes and hereditary factors and injury all contribute to foot problems.

Many foot problems can be prevented with correct footwear and regular care. Our feet too often, get neglected… until they start to hurt!

What can we treat?

Symptoms: These commonly develop upon prominent joints, such as the toes and the ball of the foot but can also present underneath toenails. Soft corns (heloma molle) can appear between the toes. Corns are often described as feeling like walking on a stone.

Ensure there is room in the shoe to take away pressure from the part. The use of acid treatments is not recommended. Application of surgical spirit may help ease a soft corn, however a visit to the podiatrist is recommended for removal of the corn.

Symptoms: Often mistaken for corns, these can appear anywhere on the foot and may be flat or raised. They are a papilloma virus and are usually transmitted when the skin is moist and wet eg. swimming pools. They can give a sharp pain which shoots through the foot, but sometimes are symptom free. Treatment is not always necessary as a verruca will often disappear of its own accord, but this may take several years.  

There are not any treatments that have 100% success rate in the treatment of verruca.  Application of a caustic solution such as Salicylic acid may be used if there is no impairment of circulation or neuropathy of the foot (i.e. diabetes). Zinc oxide tape can be helpful is macerating the verruca tissue and can make them more comfortable.  Other methods used for treating verruca are cryosurgery and needling and these all may take several sessions.  

Symptoms: These most often occur on the heels, during the warmer months. This is partly due to the dry weather or lack of moisture in the skin, but also wearing sling back sandals creates a ‘slap’ effect with each step, also being overweight can create more strain for the foot in general.

Keep the feet moisturised to enable flexibility of the skin. Use a ‘foot file’ to reduce the hard skin. Be aware of cracks, to prevent infection gaining entry. Regular chiropody treatment will help to maintain condition of your feet.

Symptoms: A fungal infection, ‘Tinea’, the first signs of which often occurs between the toes, with a moist white appearance. However, it can occur anywhere on the foot and may spread to the nails. It may cause itchiness around the area but may be symptom free. If the nails are affected, they often look yellowish or brown with thickening or crumbling of the nail. 

Application of a fungicidal or fungistatic cream can help to treat Athletes foot.  Cream such as Daktarin or Lamisil can be highly effective. When the nails are affected, it is far harder to effectively treat, therefore it is recommended nail clippings should be sent for analysis. If only slightly affected, then Loceryl solution can be used.  The skin around the toes should be also treated with anti-fungal cream and footwear should also be treated, to prevent re-infection. To improve the appearance of unsightly fungal nail infections, a Pedique nail enhancement may be applied by your qualified practitioner,  however this should be used in conjunction with an anti-fungal regime to help to treat any remaining fungal spores.

INGROWN TOENAIL (Onychocryptosis) 
An ingrown toe nail can be extremely painful, where the nail has embedded and grown forward into the skin.  The area will become red, painful and may be infected.

If the trauma is minor, the nail may be re-sectioned within a normal appointment slot.  However, recurrence is common and regular maintenance would be required to provide relief to the ingrown nail.  If there is extreme discomfort a local anaesthetic can be administered, along with the option of removal of one or both sides or total removal of the offending nail, with the nail matrix being treated with Phenol to prevent regrowth of the nail.

Going for treatment

We ask that you do not attend your appointment if you are feeling unwell.

Prior to your appointment you will be asked to complete a data protection form (we are unable to carry out any treatment without this) and also a medical history form, with a request for details of all current medications and drugs you are taking (prescription or non prescription)

An appointment will take around 30 minutes, an initial treatment will help to provide, in most instances, immediate relief. 

How many treatments will I need?

This very much depends on the individual, a corn may be removed in one session, whereas a verruca may need a course of 5-6 treatments and recurring problems can be helped with regular maintenance along with palliative care. Unless the cause of the problem is established and dealt with, many conditions will return. 

Many people come at regular intervals to maintain the condition of their feet, whereas some prefer to come only when they are experiencing pain.

Over the counter Heat Moulded Orthotics or Bespoke Prescription orthotics may also be recommended to assist with the proper function of the foot and body alignment, and can be beneficial for structural conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain and arch pain … when your feet hurt, you hurt all over.

What will it all cost?

The initial cost of chiropody is £50.00 and follow up treatments are £40.00.